Illinois Tollway 2015 Map Cover Art Contest

Sponsored by the Illinois Tollway, Blick Art Materials and MB Real Estate (MBRE)

The Illinois Tollway is reaching out to talented high school art students to design the cover art for the 2016 Illinois Tollway map. The contest is open to art students at more than 300 public high schools in the 12 counties served by the Tollway. Any high school student enrolled in art class is eligible to enter.

This year's contest theme is: Save the Monarchs.

The Illinois Tollway is working in partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council and other state agencies to enhance and restore monarch butterfly habitats throughout Northern Illinois.

While monarchs are found across the United States – as recently as 1996 numbering some 1 billion – their numbers have declined by approximately 90 percent in recent years, a result of numerous threats, particularly loss of habitat due to agricultural practices, development and cropland conversion, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Conservation efforts are necessary because of the monarchs' key role as a pollinator species. Pollinators contribute more than $24 billion to the U.S. economy through their vital role in keeping fruits, nuts and vegetables in our diets and 87 of the leading 115 food crops evaluated the federal government are dependent on pollinators.

High school students throughout the region are asked to submit original works of art and join the Illinois Tollway's efforts to promote conservation of monarch butterflies, the state insect of Illinois. Students may choose to illustrate:

  • The importance of monarch butterflies to our environment
  • The use of land along interstate highways to provide a food source and refuge for monarch butterflies through Northern Illinois

Artwork created by the grand prize winner will be featured on the cover of the Tollway's 2016 map, which is distributed at no cost to more than 125,000 customers. The grand prize winner and three runners-up will be featured in the Tollway's 2015 annual report.

Awards include:

  • Grand prize winner: $400 gift certificate from Blick Art Materials and $200 in gift certificates from MBRE to use at oases retail shops and restaurants
  • Runners-up: $200 gift certificate from Blick Art Materials and $100 in gift certificates from MBRE
  • A certificate of appreciation for all students who participate in the contest
  • Acknowledgment of winners at the Illinois Tollway Board of Directors meeting on November 19, 2015

A Tollway committee will initially judge all contest entries to determine the 10 finalists. The top 10 entries will be featured on the Illinois Tollway's website and displayed in galleries at each of the six Tollway oases pavilions during the last two weeks of October. The public will be invited to view the artwork and cast their votes online to choose the top four entries.

The grand prize winner and three runners-up will be selected by a panel of judges, including members of the Tollway Board of Directors and representatives from MBRE.



Students will have the month of September to complete their artwork.

Entries must be postmarked by October 2, 2015.

The contest is open to high school (grades 9-12) art students. See links below for all contest-related forms:

Any Questions?

Contact Dawn Rohrback via email.